As part of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1 (DA-RFO1) Women’s Month Celebration, 35 women in agriculture from different municipalities of La Union, representatives of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) La Union, and various focal persons were invited for the Agricultural Technology and Business Forum on Agriculture for Women at the DA-RFO1 Conference Room, City of San Fernando, La Union, on March 12, 2024.

Facilitated by the Gender and Development Program spearheaded by GAD Focal Person Ms. Edilyn C. Goldara and alternate focal person, Ms. Filomena A. Bugaoan, the seminar provided lectures on women’s rights, child labor laws, and additional ventures and programs in different agribusinesses to raise awareness on proprietess rights, government support, programs, and opportunities available for women in AgriBusiness.

“Be strong, stand up, and have a voice.” Urged by DA-RFO1 Regional Executive Director, Annie Q. Bares, DVM, in her opening message, participants were encouraged to ask questions and raise concerns on the different topics involved, especially women’s rights, where Mr. Danilo T. Balino from the Region 1 GAD Resource Pool explained the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) or Republic Act 9710.

Mr. Balino stressed the rights that should be experienced by every woman, how they will be protected by the MCW, and how the law cares for human rights equally regardless of one’s gender. He stressed on the message that “Women’s rights are human rights; human rights are women’s rights: equal. Walang nakakalamang.”

Following the informative presentation on the Magna Carta of Women was the Child Labor Law presented by Ms. Evelyn A. Almoite. The lecture included national plans relayed to eradicating child labor in the Philippines, namely, under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028, Chapter 3: Reduce Vulnerabilities and Protect Purchasing Power is to implement a holistic approach to child labor; the Labor Employment Plan (LEP) 2023-2028, Priority 3: Building Equitable and Inclusive Social Protection, for Enhanced and Inclusive Implementation of Soclal Protection; and lastly, the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL) 2023-2028 with the end goal of a Child Labor-Free Philippines.

In line with the three C’s of DOLE in eradicating child labor: Choice, Changing of Behavior, and Community, Ms. Almoite encouraged the participants in advocating for a child labor-free Philippines, stating that even by attending, listening, and being aware helps the goal. She further urged people to visit the website, Batang Malaya Child Labor Knowledge Sharing System (CLKSS), or (, ending the lecture with a final note, “Batang malaya at hindi batang manggagawa.”

As part of presenting business opportunities in agriculture for the participants, DA’s High Value Crops Development Program focal person Ms. Maricar F. Bongais explained the project on Gulayan sa Barangay that include backyard gardening, irrigation, and oppportunities for associations as well as their guidelines for farmers who want to avail the aid from the DA Banner programs including the seed and farm supplies distribution.

Meanwhile, Livestock Focal Person Ms. Karen F. Paningbatan discussed about the Livestock Economic Enterprises Development (LEED). highlighting the commodities on small ruminant animals, large ruminants, poultry, honeybee, and dairy cattle, along with the requirements for interested women of agriculture.

The forum was further leveled up with the participation of Women in AgriBusiness each successful in their chosen field. Ms. Venerated J. Uyaan, Proprietress of Vel Sierra Integrated Farm, enlightened the participants with the basics of mushroom production, happily sharing tips and tricks with fellow farmers. Following this is theMs. Geneva S. Gañalon, Proprietress of G’s Duckery Food Product Processing, on her duck binagoongan and various other products, where she urged her fellow farmers to try business in duckery. Finally, there was the Kimchi Making of Ms. Josephine D. Culbengan, proprietress of Phinry’s Fruit and Vegetable Farm where there are even games and prices of kimchi as well as a demonstration of how to make them in case fellow farmers would like to give it a shot.

In the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC), Focal Person of La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, Ms. Florie Mae I. Lucas focused on the AgriPinay Loan, a loan for women in farming households, fishing households, and Indigenous Persons groups where there is up to Php100,000 loanable amount with no interest and collateral, and is payable for up to 5 years or based on the projected cash flow. One of the requirements under this is that one must be endorsed by the DA Regional Gender and Development Focal Point Officers (DA GAD Focals).

Ms. Corazon G. Valdez of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division also provided lecture on the different Kadiwa Projects such as: KADIWA ni Ani at Kita Pop-up Store/Retail Selling, KADIWA ni Ani at Kita On-Wheels, and the Kadiwa ng Pangulo (KNP) along with the KADIWA grants available for these women in agriculture.

The array of topics aimed to help women of agriculture realize their rights and opportunities in the AgriBusiness with the combined efforts of the DA-RFO1 thru its GAD program, the Provincial Agriculture Office, and the DA Banner Programs, the Women’s Month Celebration: Agricultural Technology and Business Forum on Agrculture for Women successfully concluded in line with the Women’s Month 2024 theme, “Lipunang Patas sa Bagong Pilipinas.”